Larue Sheffield Denied Bond at Recent Hearing, Trial Expected at Beginning of the Year
Larue Sheffield, the man who was arrested in December 2018 for the 2013 murder of his wife Edith Sheffield, was recently, once again, denied bond in a hearing held at the Coffee County Courthouse. Although there currently is not an exact date set, the case is expected to go to trial at the beginning of next year.
Last Wednesday during the bond hearing, Sheffield’s attorney, Chad White, called Sheffield’s sister, Dawn Wright, to the stand to testify on Sheffield’s behalf. Wright stated that Sheffield suffered from health issues and has missed five doctors’ appointments since he was arrested. Wright also stated that Sheffield had “never threatened anyone, harmed anyone” and “wouldn’t flee,” as all of his family resided in Coffee County. Wright stated he “had no reason” to leave the area.
Assistant District Attorney Ian Sansot asked Wright if anything had changed since his initial bond hearing, or if the only change was the time, and Wright said, “Yes.” Sansot also asked Wright if Sheffield was suffering from medical issues before his arrest, to which she agreed.
Captain Phillips, a jail administrator at the Coffee County Jail, also testified and stated that while being incarcerated, Sheffield has caused “no problems” in jail.
White ended the hearing by stating, “If given bond, he will not harm anyone. Usually when given bond, a worry is that he will hurt someone else – and I am not saying he committed the crime he was charged with. Even if the state is in fear of that, it is not an issue. He has no reason to hurt anyone else. He isn’t causing any problems.” White also stated that this case has come up multiple times during status conferences and a trial has yet to occur.
Sansot followed, “Well, I haven’t heard that one before. He won’t harm the victim because she is already dead. Nothing has changed, and there is no evidence presented that shows anything has changed other than he has been in here for a while now. I ask that bond be denied.”
White followed, “The change has been shown in jail. For anyone who thought he may be a danger, his actions in jail have proven he hasn’t been and isn’t. I am sure you have seen most people with this type of charge in jail causing trouble, and he [Sheffield] is the exception.” White also stated that Sheffield did not flee during the five years after Edith’s death up until his arrest.
Judge Spivey asked Sansot what the status on a trial for the case is, and Sansot stated it is just scheduling, and there are murder cases which have been sitting longer than this particular one, but he expects it to take place at the beginning of the year.
Judge Spivey denied the bond request and stated that they would make sure Sheffield received a “timely trial.”
Sheffield was arrested on December 21, 2018, on multiple counts related to Edith’s death, which including one count of Murder, one count of Aggravated Assault, one count of Arson, and one count of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime.
The case began on Friday, January 18, 2013, around 6:30 p.m., when Coffee County 911 received a call reporting a house fire at the Sheffield residence on Bowens Mill Road near Broxton.
When the fire trucks and crews arrived at the scene, the home was “fully involved,” and responders were informed that one of the people who lived in the home (Edith) was missing and could possibly be inside. It took “at least 45 minutes” to extinguish the blaze enough so that emergency rescue crews could make entry into the home, where they searched to see if anyone was inside.
Crews sifted through the ashes and what remained of the home on Friday night but were not able to locate 49-year-old Edith.
On early Saturday morning, January 19, 2013, local law enforcement, emergency officials, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office again went through the home, all while foot searches were being conducted and a Georgia State Patrol helicopter searched the area around the Sheffield home.
On the following day, the scene was processed and charred remains of a human body were discovered in the fire debris that night; those remains were identified as Edith Sheffield.
During the time of the investigation, it was believed Edith died in the upstairs portion of the home and fell from the second story into the carport area when the fire caused a portion of the home to collapse.
According to the GBI report, Edith was last seen shortly before 6 p.m. the day of the fire leaving her place of work in Douglas. Although Edith’s remains were burned in the fire, an autopsy later revealed the case of death was caused by gunshot, not by fire.
Investigators interviewed Larue when the murder took place, and he stated that he was heading home between 6 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. on January 18, 2013, and received a call from his wife. Edith allegedly told Larue she was running late leaving work but was on her way home.
Larue claimed that within 45 minutes of the phone call, a neighbor called his cell phone and told him his home was in flames. The Fire Marshall’s Office later ruled the cause of the home fire was arson.
Larue denied any involvement at the time of the fire.